” The mistake by the lake Bills will not win another game. What a disgrace!” – Buffalo fan who seems to have lost confidence in the team
” Can someone direct me to the ‘ Fire John Fox’ petition?” – Chicago fan who thinks it is time John Fox is banished from the coaching den
The Buffalo Bills were well rested. (They had not played since the prior Thursday.) They were prepared; or at least one assumes they used the extra few days to prepare. They were at home against a dome team in chilly weather. Everything seemed to lean in the Bills favor. And they had incentive: erase the shame of their previous outing against the Jets and stay in the hunt for the AFC East division title. What could possibly go wrong?
To unpack that mystery, let us start with the defense and the offense. Both components are usually considered essential to success: the Bills faltered badly on both sides of scrimmage in getting bludgeoned by the Saints 47-10. New Orleans had six rushing touchdowns, the most ever against the Bills. This from a team that has a reputation for a pass-first style of play. In one series, the Saints drove 94 yards for a score – with ten straight runs. At times, the Bills seemed flummoxed. To add insult to injury, the march was capped off when Drew Brees jogged six yards for a score. The accomplished aerial artist is 38-years-old and clearly had no intention of hitting paydirt via his aging legs; but oh those Bills are so accommodating and they appeared punch-drunk by that point. Or maybe just plain drunk. A condition quite commonplace among their grouchy distraught fans.
When the frazzled stat man penned in the final tally, New Orleans amassed 482 total yards with 298 recorded by hauling the pigskin. At one point they ran it twenty-four consecutive times in the second half. Of course when you are averaging nearly seven yards a pop, why relent? It also converted into a huge possession advantage as the Saints plowed away for 32 first downs on the day, compared to Buffalo’s 10. The Bills were somewhat flat and could squeeze out only 198 yards, most coming in garbage time after the chastened despondent Tyrod Taylor observed the action while plopped next to the water bucket. Some blocks of the fan base are starting to lose confidence in Taylor as he had his worst day since being recruited by the infallible and recently departed Rex Ryan. Taylor completed only 9 of 18 passes for 56 yards, and finished with a an ego-bruising 33.6 rating. Going forward, he might not be the player Buffalo needs to get them to the next level and the Bills have announced that Taylor will remain guarding the water bucket and rookie Nate Peterman will assume the starter duty. The coaches have now officially declared this a “rebuilding year.”
While the jury is preparing to cast its verdict on Taylor’s future in Buffalo, a convincing case can be made that it is time for coach John Fox to receive his walking papers in Chicago. Fox seems befuddled by the “challenge” system for replays and evidently does not comprehend that it is supposed to be used to his team’s advantage instead of becoming a liability. Fox inexplicably used a challenge when the Bears were in prime scoring position with an opportunity to tie detested division rival Green Bay. In a case of being too clever by a half, the challenge flag was thrown and upon further review the Bears not only didn’t get a touchdown or at least a first and goal, they lost possession on what was ruled a touchback. They also lost a rare winnable game 23-16. Chicago, a city of wanton lust-crazed hedonists is dripping with scorn for Fox and now lusts for his dismissal.
Since assuming the helm in Chicago, Fox is a less than glittering 12-29. He can’t even use being saddled with Jay Cutler as quarterback as an excuse anymore. The outcast Cutler headed south to throw interceptions for Miami while Fox (and/or witless front office), imported unproven Mike Glennon for a small fortune and now he sits while Mitch Trubisky tries to navigate the treacherous NFL terrain in his rookie season. Bad or at least erratic personnel moves and clumsy game management have marked the Fox regime and one suspects his ouster is imminent.
Apparently that is not true of beleaguered Bob McAdoo in New York. Despite falling to 1-8 and getting manhandled by the previously winless 49ers who shredded the defense for 474 yards, the Giants hierarchy is holding steadfast and to use a Reagan era term – ” staying the course.” In fact, it was 1976, even before Reagan made jelly beans and astrologers part of the White House mainstream, that the Giants removed a head coach midstream. And that was the ill-fated Bill Arnsparger who was 0-7 when the axe fell. Arnsparger also had the unique distinction of coaching the Giants on three different home fields: the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Ct. in 1974; Shea Stadium in 1975; and Giants Stadium in 1976. Tuck that into your trivia quiver for future reference.
Viva la Belichick ! After consulting with the cartels, Roger Goodell received permission to have Mexico host a regular season game. In what is designated a “home” game for the Raiders, it might be interesting to see a certain cast of spectators in the prime seating section flanked by security guards boasting AK-47’s; in other words, it will seem just like a game in Oakland. They will be “hosting” the Patriots who are on a roll lately and getting much better play from their defense after some wobbly early outings.
Coming off an uncharacteristic rout of the Broncos in Denver (41-16), New England is hitting playoff stride. It was special teams that turned the tide in what was otherwise an even statistical match up. The Pats converted a botched punt return into a score, then when Denver showed a little life by getting on the scoreboard, Deion Lewis zoomed 103 yards for a TD on the ensuing kickoff. Throw in a blocked punt, and a penalty for having too many men on the field which helped prolong a New England scoring drive and the recipe for a romp was complete.
Despite a wave of injuries to key personnel, Belichick manages to patch together units that still function at a high level. This season has to qualify as one of his best coaching jobs and now the Pats are gearing up to deliver a mortal blow to the Raiders playoff hopes. On hand in Mexico City to pay tribute to the ultimate mastermind of NFL coaching ranks will be the descendants of Montezuma and the Aztecs who like action-packed competitive contests. They will not be disappointed – Viva la Belichick.
Viva la Mule! He is about ready to chow down on the annual early Thanksgiving dinner here at the complex. Just $ 5 for the mini-feast and even Bills and Giants fans are welcome.